Heavy Metal Sacrifice
Released: 2016, Cruz Del Sur Records
Reviewers, myself included, often throw around words like ‘consistent’, ‘under-rated’, quite often in our reviews. However, what other two words can describe the career of Germany’s Sacred Steel? The band is back after a few years off with their ninth full-length album, HEAVY METAL SACRIFICE. Actually it could be the 10th album, depends how your count and classify your albums. Was POUNDING INFERNO a full album? some think so, some don't.
Sacred Steel are really in their groove. The line-up has been the same for a decade and the band is still on Cruz Del Sur Records, which is a little odd, as the label tends to be a bit more forward thinking than retro-themed in their band signings, but a good band is a good band! The band offers virtually nothing new on HEAVY METAL SACRIFICE, but then again I don’t want them too! If they changed now, I’d be upset! Actually, there is one minor change and it is for the better. The voice of Mutz has actually improved! He used to be a more gruff and back in the early days, man, his delivery was rough. I’ve wondered in the past if his voice was the main reason the band haven’t progressed farther in their career. Instead of growling, he actually sings more on this record and it is an improvement. His voice is so unique it is still unmistakably him, but just better as he faithfully delivers his lyrics of Metal and Steel including a noticeable shift away from the anti-Christian lyrics, back to themes of glory. HEAVY METAL SACRIFICE might even bring forward some more traditional and even tiny little hints of doom (ie. tracks like ‘Vulture Priest’) as they ease back off the throttle a bit and shift away from some of their thrash/death influences. This may be a play to attract the cool kids who love Atlantean Kodex and are just discovering Manilla Road but it works very nicely. The album is loaded with mid-tempo grinders with thick riffs, and good warm production and just rock solid Metal songs. They still have bursts of speed like the longer track ‘Let There Be Steel’ which keeps up a pretty relentless pace for most of it’s seven minutes, except for a nice mellower mid-section with a restrained guitar solo, that seems almost out of place. The band don’t forget their sense of humour finishing off with a short- thrashy, joke tune called ‘Iron Donkey’!
HEAVY METAL SACRIFCE is par for the course, as strong as ever, 11 tracks, (including a short intro and a short outro) means we get a nine track, 48 minute album loaded with pure Metal goodness. I feel over time this might stand out as one oft heir better albums in a long, deep and respectable career.